Lansing protest promotes science to improve policies

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Hundreds of people joined in the March for Science on Saturday, April 22, at the Capitol to celebrate Earth Day.

The mission of the march was to encourage evidence based policy, or the use of scientific studies, to create or improve policies.

Marchers expressed their concerns in many ways. Some gave speeches while others performed poems or songs.

Petra Daher of the Michigan Puppet and Mask Collective marched to preserve funding for the Great Lakes.

Members of the Michigan Puppet and Mask Collective marched with a group of other people and organizations. They all called themselves the Nature Brigade.

Sakina Abedi

Members of the Michigan Puppet and Mask Collective marched with a group of other people and organizations. They all called themselves the Nature Brigade.

“We’re focusing on Michigan because this is where we’re from,” Daher said. “The Great Lakes are such an important source of water that we just think that having nuclear power plants and having Line 5 are too big a risk.”

The Michigan Puppet and Mask Collective is a group of artists, activists and environmentalists who promote environmentalism and civil rights. “We have a long haul ahead of us, confronting 45 (President Trump) and his horrendous policies, and so we wanted to do something playful and creative because we need to feed our souls while we continue to fight for peace and justice,” Daher said.

On Tuesday, March 28, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that curbed the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations. The marchers oppose that. Michigan State Department of Community Sustainability professor Laura Schmitt Olabisi had a lot to say about the president’s decision.

“I find it very disappointing,” Olabisi said. “The United States is the only major world power that is engaged in climate denialism at the federal level.”

Caroline Bruce was in Lansing for the march because she opposes a number of Trump’s policies.

Bruce shows off her creative sign.

Sakina Abedi

Bruce shows off her creative sign.

“I feel that Donald Trump is denying that global warming exists,” Bruce said. “I feel that to have a man who does not feel that it is important to be knowledgeable about any area of which he is in control, is an extremely frightening situation and I think Donald Trump is not an appropriate president.”

Bruce said, “I feel that we need to try to do something to make sure that he doesn’t endanger the people of America and the people of the world.”

Michigan State seniors Madi Kraus and Hannah Stoloff said that they hope for change.

Stoloff said that change is hard to do on a systemic scale.

“It starts with parents making sure that their kids remain interested in political discourse and what’s going on,” Stoloff said. “My dad made sure that I was still educated and focused and understood that just because politics might not affect me because I’m well off, that it’s still going to affect other people.”

Hannah Stoloff and Madi Kraus, seniors at Michigan State University march for Science.

Sakina Abedi

Hannah Stoloff and Madi Kraus, seniors at Michigan State University march for Science.

“I would just like to see a change in the population,” Kraus said. “I think that policy needs to change, but overall, the way that we live and our lifestyles need to change. While policy will help that, it ultimately comes down to the people.”

Kraus said that the people need to protect the place where we live.

“It’s the people,” she said. “It’s the people I think, that I want to see the change in.”

According to Olabisi, climate change is one of the most important environmental issues in the world based on, “the seriousness of the threats it poses to multiple human and environmental systems.”

Christina Pastoria, a Michigan State senior and member of the Sustainable Spartans, agrees.

“Energy is an integral part of modern life, so much so that the United Nations is considering declaring it a human right,” Pastoria said. “Nothing short of global catastrophe will decrease our dependence on energy, so unless we figure out a new way to produce it, we’re going to keep emitting carbon. Carbon triggers climate change, and climate change makes most other environmental problems worse.”

Voting for environmentally conscious leaders and making environmentally conscious business decisions are a few ways that Pastoria said people can help stop climate change.

“Corporations can lead innovation without the assistance of government, but they won’t do so without clear signals from consumers,” she said. “We all have to be willing to pay a little more for electricity or for food or other goods. Pollution isn’t actually free, so we need to recognize that when we pay a little more upfront, we’re just avoiding costs down the line, not adding new ones. If we signal businesses, and that causes the market to change, that’s a much more sustainable solution than asking individuals to make climate-conscious decisions every day, when easier or cheaper options are also available.”

March on Science: Lansing, Michigan from Jessica Hanna on Vimeo.

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